Tuesday, January 21, 2020

The German Trade Union Confederation is celebrating its 70th birthday this year at a time when representing workers’ interests is as urgent as ever

By Claus Leggewie

It’s quite possible that the German Train Drivers’ Union (GDL) has made more enemies than friends in recent years. In 2014 and 2015, it repeatedly called for widespread, all-day strikes in an attempt to achieve higher wages and better working conditions for its roughly 35,000 members – locomotive drivers and other railroad personnel. “All engines cease without your elbow grease.” In this case, the defiant workers’ slogan was quite literally …

How Brandenburg’s farmers are striving to fulfill their Berlin customers’ demands for organic fruits and vegetables

By Manfred Ronzheimer

Farmer Sven Geelhaar has set up five rolling chicken coops, each with 220 hens, in the countryside around Chorin in Brandenburg. “On the upper floor, they’ve got nesting areas, perches for sleeping as well as food and water,” says Geelhaar, who owns 97 hectares of arable land near the Chorin biosphere reserve. Every week, the chickens roll to a different meadow, where they can peck away to their hearts’ content …

Street-smart jump-start: The strategic partnership between Ford and VW is good for both carmakers.

By Carsten Germis

Almost four years have passed since the fall of 2015, and that moment when US environmental protection officials exposed the extent to which the Volkswagen Group had manipulated exhaust emissions in its cars, thereby throwing VW into the largest crisis in its history. Today, however, the German automaker is doing better than ever before.

While its domestic competitors, including Daimler and BMW, have struggled with losses in recent years, Volkswagen …

Petromelancholia and its discontents

By Benjamin Steininger

Fossil fuels have driven prosperity, technology and politics but have also created dependencies as well as new possibilities for waging war and destruction


In 1944, one year before the end of World War II, the Russian- Ukrainian biogeochemist Vladimir Ivanovich Vernadsky (1863– 1945) published his final paper. The text, titled “Some Words on the Noosphere,” holds that science and technology have created a new, geohistorically significant layer: the noosphere. …

Tired of winning: Who bears the consequences of President Trump’s tariff policies?

By Nikolaus Piper

In early August, President Donald Trump was able to celebrate a small yet tangible success in his beloved trade war. The European Union and the United States had just signed an agreement on the import of American beef to Europe – one in which the EU committed to accepting up to 35,000 tons of hormone-free beef from American suppliers over the next seven years. As the total of EU imports …

Before passing away, Ferdinand Piëch exhorted his heirs to keep the Porsche-Volkswagen Group intact

By Ulrich Viehöver

Many in the business feared him. Some even hated him. Managers tended to avoid him. Thousands of car aficionados revered him. And almost all his competitors copied him. Germany’s highest-profile car designer and business leader Ferdinand K. Piech is dead. Will the business legacy he left, now worth many billions of euros, disintegrate without him?

His fortune is tied in with Volkswagen and the families of Porsche and Piech that …

Bill Gates is wrong. Nuclear power will not save the climate. Beyond Chernobyl and Fukushima, there’s too much speaking against it

Bill Gates is wrong. Nuclear power will not save the climate. Beyond Chernobyl and Fukushima, there’s too much speaking against it
By Christoph von Eichhorn

Nuclear power? No, thank you! “That chapter is over,” a spokesperson recently proclaimed. Nuclear power isn’t even a topic anymore, she argued. And this spokesperson wasn’t from some environmental organization or the like; she was representing RWE, one of three large corporations in Germany that still produces electricity from nuclear energy. The two other companies, EnBW and Eon, have issued similar sentiments, pointing to the fact that their priority is …

The Solidarity Pact that provided cash and financial stability to the eastern German states following reunification is about to expire

The Solidarity Pact that provided cash and financial stability to the eastern German states following reunification is about to expire
By Stefan Locke

It was mid-August, just before regional elections in Brandenburg and Saxony, when German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier called for a “new solidarity pact.” What the president was demanding was not more money, but a “solidarity pact of appreciation,” especially for achievements during eastern Germany’s peaceful evolution and the transformation of its economy from socialist planning to the capitalist market.

The transformation of eastern German that began in 1990 was an immensely …

The histrionic debate over nationalization and forcible expropriation in Germany distracts from a more urgent conversation

By Albrecht von Lucke

In early May, Kevin Kühnert, who heads the left-wing SPD youth organization – the Jusos – sparked national and even international discussion. In an interview with the weekly Die Zeit, asked whether he favored the collectivization of the automaker BMW, he answered: “In a democratic way, yes.”

Is it possible that today, roughly 30 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Cold War, serious …

Women in Germany are still massively under-represented in positions of leadership in business, politics and culture, but they themselves contribute to this stagnation

By Ingo Kloepfer

They do, in fact, exist – women in leadership positions in Germany. Janina Kugel and Lisa Davis, for example. And, since the beginning of this year, Birgit Bohles. The first two women are board members at Siemens and the third recently made it onto the board of directors at Deutsche Telekom. There are others, as well: Renata Jungo Brüngger and Britta Seeger, for example, are two management executives at Daimler …